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Pritzker says Illinois ‘in decent shape’ to further reopening

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SPRINGFIELD — Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Monday the state could enter the “bridge” phase to greater reopening as soon as next week, while the state’s vaccination rate continues to drop.

Speaking at a news conference at Providence Hospital in Chicago, Pritzker said Illinois is nearing the necessary metrics to reach the next phase of reopening as case numbers stabilize.

“It looks to me, if you look at all the hospital admissions data, like we're in decent shape and moving exactly as I would hope we would toward the bridge phase,” Pritzker said Monday.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, new COVID-19 hospital admissions, total COVID-19 patients in the hospital, and death rates all must be stable or decreasing before the state can move to the next phase with more relaxed capacity restrictions and allowing some large-scale events to resume with safety measures in place.

Pritzker said hospitalization growth is the key metric the state monitors which would allow the state to move forward to the bridge phase.

As of Monday, the IDPH website showed an increasing trend for the overall number of hospitalizations for COVID-19 with 1,963 people hospitalized as of Sunday, although new admissions for COVID-19-like illnesses were reported as stable, averaging 205 new daily admissions as of Friday. That was down from 240 on April 16.

Of the 1,963 individuals in Illinois who were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Sunday night, 479 patients were in intensive care unit beds and 249 were on ventilators.

The state has reached all other benchmarks to trigger a larger-scale reopening, including at least 70% of the state’s population aged 65 and older receiving at least one dose of a vaccine, and at least half of all residents aged 16 and older receiving at least one dose.

The state had administered a total of 9.4 million COVID-19 vaccine doses as of Monday, with 4.1 million residents, or 32% of the state’s population, fully vaccinated.

A total of 16,920 doses were administered statewide Sunday, bringing the seven-day rolling average for vaccines administered to 78,440, down from a peak seven-day average of 132,979 recorded April 12.

Public health officials announced a total of 2,049 new COVID-19 cases and 28 additional deaths Monday. The statewide seven-day rolling case positivity rate stood at 3.4% Monday.

Pritzker credited Illinois residents for continuing to follow public health guidelines as a major reason for the state’s low positivity rate.

“Nobody's forcing anybody to do it, but this is about doing what's best for your own family, for yourself and for your community, and I think most people in Illinois have stepped up to the plate. I'm so, so proud of our state,” Pritzker said.

United States to, Restrict Travel From India, Due to Surge in COVID-19 Cases. Joe Biden’s administration is set to ban all travel from India into the United States starting Tuesday. . White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed the news on Friday. . Psaki said the decision to restrict travel was based on advice from the CDC and due India’s recent surge in COVID-19 cases. . She also cited the concerning fact that “multiple [COVID-19] variants” are circulating in the country. On the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Administration will restrict travel from India starting immediately. The policy will be implemented in light of extraordinarily high Covid-19 caseloads and multiple variants circulating in India, Jen Psaki, via 'WSJ'. According to the ‘Wall Street Journal,’ an administration official disclosed that the ban would not apply to some individuals. . This includes U.S. citizens, permanent residents and other exempted individuals such as humanitarian workers. . Those individuals would still be required to meet current quarantine and testing requirements that are in place for international travelers. . The U.S. now joins the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, France and Australia in restricting travel from India. . India reported an additional 386,452 COVID-19 cases on Friday, bringing the country’s total caseload to more than 18 million.

Pritzker also added that preparations for some large-scale events such as the Illinois State Fair are underway, signaling the potential for a wider reopening and larger-scale events to come in the future.

“We've obviously been doing all the planning that's necessary for it, you know, barring some highly unusual event occurring that would prevent a large gathering,” Pritzker said.

“(IDPH) is working with the Department of Agriculture to make sure that people will be safe, so I think we're gonna have a lot of fun this summer,” he added.


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